Doordarshan also known as DD was launched on September 15, 1959 by the Government of India. The Indian public service broadcaster turned 63 on 15th September 2022.
Doordarshan, owned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and one of Prasar Bharati’s two divisions, began as an experimental broadcaster, with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio.
It was in 1965 when DD began broadcasting information. Every day a five-minute information bulletin was learned by the channel’s first newsreader, Pratima Puri. In 1967, she was replaced by Salma Sultan.
The channel also broadcasts on digital terrestrial transmitters. DD provides television, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional India, as well as overseas, through the satellite network. DD Nationwide, the oldest and most generally out there terrestrial tv channel, was launched in 1982. In the identical year, color tv was launched with dwell telecast of the Independence Day speech by PM Indira Gandhi.
In 1965, regular daily transmissions were started by Doordarshan as a part of the All India Radio. The first program to be telecast on Doordarshan was Krishi Darshan, which began on 26th January 1967. This was a 20-minute programme for farmers educating them about various aspects of agriculture. This was done in collaboration with the Department of Atomic Energy, the Indian Research Institute, and the Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments. Krishi Darshan is one of the longest-running shows on Indian television, along with Chitrahaar, a show that played Bollywood songs.
Some popular TV shows on Doordarshan were; Hum Log, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Buniyaad, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shaktimaan, Bharat Ek Khoj, Chitrahaar, Karamchand, Byomkesh Bakshi, Vikram aur Betaal, Malgudi Days, Jungle Book, The Peacock Calls and University Girls.
By 1972, TV services were extended to Mumbai and Amritsar up to 1975 only 7 cities across India had TV service and Doordarshan was the only service provider of TV in India.On 1st April 1976, TV services were separated from radio and the office of the All India Radio and Doordarshan were managed by separate Director Generals in Delhi.
Doordarshan currently operates 21 channels, out of which two are all India channels – DD National and DD News, 11 regional language satellite channels, and sports channels (DD Sports), four state networks and Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha TV, which broadcast parliamentary proceedings live. DD National (also known as DD1) broadcasts regional and local programs. The DD News channel provides 24 hours news broadcast.
DD Sports is the only channel which broadcasts national and international sporting events and is also the only sports channel which covers sports such as Kho-Kho and Kabaddi, which are popular in rural areas and are not covered by other private TV channels.
From a modest beginning in 1959, Doordarshan now has a global reach and continues to inform and entertain viewers of different generations across the globe.